Understanding agent duties and boundaries does not need to be elusive.
Here are some basics:
1. Agency relationships are not created by a simple phone call. They are also not created just because you show a house or someone walks into your open house. It is also not an automatic “agency relationship” just because you show a buyer 20 homes or have a pocket listing.
2. Agency relationships are established in writing (yes, it could be verbal…cough cough) The written agreement spells out the time frame for the relationship and the duties of both the agent and consumer. What are you going to do for them? What are they going to do in return?
3. An Exclusive listing agreements with a seller is no different than a Exclusive listing agreement with a buyer and carries equal weight. Only a written exclusive agreement makes the consumer “your” client.
4. Buyers and sellers are free game for anyone to solicit unless you have an “exclusive right to represent” contract with with them as in #2.
5. Having 2 clients (buyer and seller) in the same transaction is a conflict of interest regardless of how it is spinned or camouflaged.
6. Without an “listing agreement” or an “exclusive buyer agreement”, the consumer is only a “customer”, not a “client”. There are different duties attached to both.
7. “Customers” get no fiduciary duties, “clients” get full fiduciary duties of loyalty, confidentiality and full disclosure
8. If you have a “client” it is your duty to take care of them, and fulfill your agreement. If you listed with a seller, you promised to sell the property. If you listed the buyer, you promised to find them a property. Just do it.
9. The core value of an Agency relationship is universal just like the code of ethics, it does not vary from state to state.
10. Your feelings, emotions and what you think does not count, as it is your duty to put the clients best interest above your own.